Recording Location Sound (mini disc or DAT ???) : LUSENET : Shooting DV Films : One Thread

I have been looking into recording location sound using a portable mini disc recorder. Has anyone used mini-disc? I am looking at the Sony MZ R-50 or Sharp MD MS100A. Is there any other model worth looking at. Someone has also told me to keep away from mini disc because of it's "lossy compression" is this correct?

Hope to here from you soon Th

-- Glenn Thomson (, January 27, 1999


Minidisc is great! If you have interference problems with your wireless mic, I just use a minidisc recorder on the groom (weddings). There small enough to fit in the coat pocket and you get stereo sound for 74 mins or 148min for mono. Remember to get a mono to stereo adapter for your mic to plug into the minidisc recorder or else you'll only get sound on the left channel.

You have to be an audiophile to hear the compression difference in minidisc and own a $2000+ stereo system. You definitely won't hear the difference on a home TV or regular stereo system!

Regards, Eric

-- Eric Noble (, February 03, 1999.

I don't know those cameras, but wouldn't it just be cheaper to hook your mic up directly to the camera via a cable? I don't claim to know anything about this whatsoever, but since they say "CD quality audio" I'm assuming you can hook up direct...

-- Dan Seitz (, February 03, 1999.

With some DAT recorders you can record timecode along w/ your audio. I don't know if mini disks allow for timecode.

-- Edward Klein (, February 22, 1999.


I have a Sharp 702 and am very pleased with it for musical use. I have considered using it for location sound, but would only do so if I couldn't get a portable DAT. The reason is the time-code, which the MD does not have. If you use MD recording, you (or your beleaguered sound editor) will be synching manually, which can be a pain.

If you do use it, you will need a pre-amp (?) because the mini jack will not support a standard full-size michrophone. These can be bought for about sixty bucks, I think. I'm speaking for my sound man, who knows more about all this than I do.

As far as compresson, the sound is perfectly fine for your film or video needs. I get really sick of the audio snobs who act like their ears are smarter than the rest of us. 99% of your audience isn't even going to notice any "compression loss". Yes, it's there, and an expert may be able to catch it, but if what you are filming is worth a damn, nobody will care.

Email if you've got more questions.

-- Josh Lacey (, February 23, 1999.

I have another suggestion. I use a GVD300 mini DV Walkman as the Audio recoder. I get 12/32 or 16/48 audio, full timecode, full transfer vie Firewire, etc/ It does need to use Preamps for the mics but makes a handy recorder. There is an interesting situation with MiniDisk in some cases I'd have to say it is better than full non compressed audio expecially if you are going to lay over additional audio, the compression system ATRACS etc eliminates the audio we don't hear, this tends to clean things up a slight bit and allow for more "room" audio wise to add your audio on top etc.

Problem is that Minidisc even it it has digital out it is not uncompressed digital it is regenerated digital from the compressed system. So if for some reason you need to go back to minidisk you are recompressing all over again and then the losses can build and be noticable. Usually we think of digital transfer as lossless and ability to make copies with out problems, but in this case the system takes the ATRAC data and decompresses it to digital first. John Ferrick

-- John Ferrick (, April 20, 1999.

I was wondering the same thing a couple of weeks ago, Glenn. I kept getting contradictory advice from people, so I finally went for "economics" over purist opinions. I picked up the Sony MZR-900 for a reasonable price and then tested it out.

It works great! I'm using a high quality the overall sound is really high quality. When I uploaded the sounds into my Mac and edited with Final Cut Pro, there was no lossy compression that I could hear.

Hope that helps.


-- John Locke (, August 27, 2001.

I wouldnt be caught dead recording location sound on minidisc. Now granted, i own some MD gear for live shows and my car and stuff like that.. but if you're bothering to record location audio outside your camera... dont use a compressed format. check out for a plethora of knowledge about the MD spec and how it fits music on that tiny disk. compression = loss and i'm not about that for something important. I personally use a preamp on set with digital outs (dbx 386), so i can feed my dat clean stuff.. then use an analog out on your pre/dat to feed the camera for reference. I find a lot of cameras introduce a high frequency whine on the DV audio tracks.. Bad News.

-- chris r (, September 18, 2003.

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